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Ukraine war latest: Russia unleashes yet another air attack, killing 1, injuring 63 across Ukraine

by Alexander Khrebet and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 14, 2023 12:37 AM 6 min read
A burned car parked in the courtyard of the residential building damaged by the Russian ballistic missile attack on Kyiv on Dec. 13, 2023. (Alexander Khrebet/The Kyiv Independent)
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Key developments on Dec. 13:

  • Russian overnight air attacks kill 1, injure 63
  • Scholz: Germany's 2nd Patriot to be deployed in Ukraine by the end of 2023
  • Russian hacker group claims responsibility for Kyivstar cyberattack
  • Norway unveils aid for Ukraine, including air defense, humanitarian support
  • Denmark prepares new Ukraine aid package worth $1 billion

Russia targeted Kyiv with a large-scale missile attack in the early hours of Dec. 13. While air defenses downed all the 10 missiles, falling debris damaged multiple buildings in the capital, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

At least 53 people were injured in the attack, 20 of whom were hospitalized, including two children, the mayor reported.

In total, Russian forces carried out attacks against 12 Ukrainian regions over the past day, killing at least one person and injuring at least 63, regional officials reported on Dec. 13.

As colder weather approaches, Russian forces intensified their attacks across Ukraine, launching dozens of cruise and ballistic missiles and kamikaze drones weekly.

Dozens left without a home as Russian strike damages apartment building in Kyiv
Alina, her 9-year-old son, and 80-year-old grandmother were sitting outside. Their apartment was burned down, window frames were blown out, and the three were cut by shattered glass. “We were lucky (to survive). A fire quickly broke out, smoke around. The child was half naked. I managed to g…

In Donetsk Oblast, Russian attacks against Krasnohorivka injured one person, the Donetsk Oblast Military Administration reported.

In Kharkiv Oblast, a man in his early 70s was killed, and a man in his late 70s was seriously injured in Russian strikes against Kupiansk, Governor Oleh Syniehubov said.

Russian forces carried out 113 attacks against Kherson Oblast, injuring six people, Governor Oleksandr Prokudin said.

Ukrainian air defenses reportedly downed 10 Russian Shahed drones overnight, almost all of them over Odesa Oblast.

A downed drone fell on a car repair shop in Odesa, injuring two employees, Governor Oleh Kiper reported. Both victims had been hospitalized, he added.

Chernihiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Khmelnytskyi, Luhansk, Mykolaiv, Sumy, and Zaporizhzhia oblasts also came under attack, but local officials reported no casualties.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Dec. 13 that “there will be a response” from Ukraine for Russia's missile and drone attack on Kyiv earlier in the morning that wounded dozens.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Dec. 13 that the second Patriot air defense system previously pledged by Berlin would be deployed in Ukraine and operational by the end of 2023.

Ukraine received two Patriot systems from the U.S. and Germany in early 2023.

Russian hacker group behind Kyivstar cyberattack

Russian hackers broke through Kyivstar's cybersecurity through the compromised account of one of the company's employees, Kyivstar CEO Oleksandr Komarov said on air on Dec. 13.

Kyivstar was targeted by a massive cyberattack on Dec. 12 which caused internet and network outages across Ukraine, as well as issues with air raid alerts. Monobank, one of Ukraine's largest banks, also reported an attack the same day.

Kyivstar services were being gradually restored as of the evening of Dec. 13. The company is Ukraine's leading phone services provider, with over 24 million mobile customers and is the home internet provider to one million Ukrainians.

"It must be admitted that this attack breached our defenses," Komarov said. "The account of one of the employees was compromised and the enemy was able to get into the middle of the company's infrastructure."

Komarov said an investigation is currently underway and that the company had strong cyber defenses, having repelled around 500 cyberattacks since the start of the full-scale invasion.

The company said it was targeted by the largest hacker attack in the history of telecommunications.

According to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), a Russian hacker group with ties to Russia's military intelligence agency claimed responsibility for the attack.

Although the SBU did not specify the group's name, a Russian hacker group called Solntsepek claimed responsibility for the attack against Kyivstar in a statement published on Telegram earlier on Dec. 13.

"We attacked Kyivstar because the company provides communications to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as government agencies and law enforcement agencies of Ukraine," the group wrote on social media.

Solntsepek claimed that its attack had "destroyed" 10,000 computers, over 4,000 servers, and all cloud storage and backup systems.

Kyivstar denied that any computers or servers had been destroyed. The company also noted that subscribers' personal data remains safe.

The SBU, however, acknowledged that the attack resulted in critical damage to Kyivstar's digital infrastructure.

Aid to Ukraine

Norway unveiled on Dec. 13 new aid for Ukraine as part of a previously announced multi-year support plan, including air defense equipment, humanitarian assistance, and increased munition production.

Oslo announced the assistance during President Volodymyr Zelensky's visit to Norway.

Zelensky has been touring several countries in an effort to reinvigorate support for Ukraine.

"Just this morning, we learned that Ukraine was under attack by Russian missiles, and you need all the support you can to defend yourself," Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said during a press conference with Zelensky.

Following talks with Zelensky, Stoere unveiled key allocations of Oslo's five-year $6.8-billion Ukraine funding plan approved earlier this year.

Around $12 million is allocated as budget support for Ukrainian public services, including administration, healthcare, education, and pensions.

Norway will also disburse $273 million in budget support early next year through the Ukraine Relief, Recovery, Reconstruction and Reform Trust Fund (URTF) under the World Bank.

Oslo further pledged additional NASAMS air defense equipment worth $30.5 million. Some of it is to be sent from current stocks, while the rest will be commissioned from the industry for later delivery.

"The equipment can be sent within a relatively short time and will be important in strengthening air defenses against Russian attacks during the winter," Norwegian Defense Minister Bjoern Arild Gram said.

Over $91 million is allocated to boost Norway's ammunition and missile production as part of the EU's ASAP plan to replenish Ukraine's stockpiles.

Finally, $12.5 million will support the U.N.'s Winter Response Plan for Ukraine, earmarked for food and water, warm clothes, blankets, and places for people to stay if their housing is destroyed during the winter.

This funding is in addition to the contributions already announced in 2023.

"Ukraine is entering the third winter since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of its neighboring country," Stoere said.

"When it comes to military support, Norway will now be providing more air defense equipment to protect Ukrainian cities against the Russian attacks."

In Avdiivka, Ukrainians hold Russians off for nearly 10 years (PHOTOS)
Editor’s Note: The Kyiv Independent agreed not to publish the names and/or last names of people who live or visit Avdiivka so as not to endanger them and their immediate family. The city of Avdiivka, in Donetsk Oblast, has been on the front line of Russia’s war against Ukraine

As the winter is setting in, Kyiv came under a large-scale Russian missile attack overnight on Dec. 13, resulting in dozens of civilians injured.

Ukrainian officials have warned that Russia is likely to intensify attacks against cities and critical infrastructure, mirroring its strategy from last year.

According to the Norwegian government's press release, more than half of Oslo's assistance provided in 2023 was military aid, mainly on air defense.

Earlier this week, Norway and the U.K. announced a new maritime coalition aimed at supporting Ukraine's naval capabilities.

Meanwhile, the Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said her government would present in parliament on Dec. 14 a new aid package for Ukraine worth around 7.5 billion Danish kroner ($1.1 billion), containing tanks, ammunition, drones, and more.

"We are at a critical point in the war, and we must ensure that Ukraine has what it needs to continue the fight,” Frederiksen said during the press conference with Zelensky in Oslo.

“That is why we work together with partners and allies for long-term security for Ukraine.”

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